"The true irony of it all is that in their quest for altruism, Pandora’s Box was opened." – Iris Lawton
The Ark Project was the effort for humans to give a certain subset of species the gift of human intelligence.
In the early twenty third century, humans had reached the pinnacle of their development. They had doubled their lifespan. The technological advances of teleportation and terraforming were going into full swing. World peace had been reached.
However, the planet was ravaged by pollution and many species were endangered thanks to years of human decadence. Since conflict was gone and technology was at a boom, an effort was made to clean up the planet.
With a flurry of resources and manpower, humans were able to restore much of the environment that they had destroyed within a few decades. The shift then focused on bringing endangered animals back from the brink of extinction.
However the animals were not breeding. Scientists had tried many approaches to get these endangered species to procreate, but all failed. Thus, the idea was born to give them enough intelligence to make them aware of their situation. The goal was to increase their aptitude, but only to a point to where they were still wild. Thus the Ark Project was initiated.
The first Ark Project was dedicated for testing only, picking animals that were in no real threat of dying. They chose five groups of species, four of them, dogs, cats, pigs, and cows, were domesticated animals. These animals were chosen because they already had above average intelligence and were easy to obtain. The other species they tested was a chimp. Though not as tamed as the others, their mental acumen was something that was sought after.
These animals showed no sign of super intelligence at first. They adapted and figured things out impressively, but they weren’t even close to being as smart as the dumbest humans on Earth. The results were still remarkable. They were able to train animals to do advanced things, including breeding.
The project was considered a success and plans were being made to conduct phase two, which would be exposure to endangered species. This time, they would select nine groups of animals deemed to be at risk for extinction. Different breeds of wolves, gorillas, lions, eagles, rhinos, crocodiles, bears, elephants, and tigers were brought in for intelligence boosting.
The animals of phase one were done with their clinicals and would be released back to their natural environments. Humans were so busy with phase two that they failed to thoroughly monitor the phase one tests subjects. The phase one animals developed human level intelligence. Knowing they would be killed at showing these signs, they kept quiet and played dumb.
Fifteen years later, towards the beginning of the twenty fourth century, phase two had completed. The nine endangered species were much smarter than they originally were. They were still held under captivity, so scientists could monitor the rate of their repopulation, but things were improving. The procreation rate within the small subgroup of animals they held was slowly increasing. Just like the phase one animals, the phase two animals also grew smarter than the humans had anticipated.
One hundred years later, by 2400, the animals of phase two had swelled to a numerous mass. The Ark Project was considered a success and it was ready to move into phase three, reintroducing these animals to their natural habitats so that they could thrive and return things to the way they were. By 2420, phase two animals were living on their own in special, adapted habitats.
When the Phase 1 and Phase 2 animals became self aware, they started to communicate with each other to set the stage for The Ark Rebellion and The Event.
Other animals have tried to replicate The Ark Project in order to gain allies for their personal wars. Lions gave artifical intelligence to cheetahs, and pigs to frogs. However, the United Species Alliance quickly put a stop to this, and such actions have not been attempted since.
|Major Events of the Halfkind Series|
Volume 2: Operation Horus
Volume 3: Alpha Project
Volume 4: Implant Program